Ifill Inspires Phoenix Past Heart

A 10-man Melbourne Heart FC has suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of the Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium tonight.

A 10-man Melbourne Heart FC has suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of the Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium tonight.

Despite creating several stellar chances either side of half time, Heart was made to rue its profligacy as a second half double by Paul Ifill inspired Wellington to victory.

It was Wellington who made the brighter start to the contest, capitalising on Heart-s early indecisiveness to press the side deep into its own territory.

The attacking duo of Ifill and Leo Bertos appeared in ominous form early, challenging the away side-s back four with darting runs and impressive link-play in the final third of the park.

However, despite their combined creativity, it took a misstep in the last line of defence to present Wellington with the opening chance of the contest, as Ifill pounced on a loose ball only to be denied by the oncoming Clint Bolton, who produced a characteristic stellar save.

After the scare, Heart regained its composure, as Gerald Sibon sought to reenergise the side with is vision and poise on the ball, constantly probing in search of an opening in the Phoenix rearguard.

But marshalled by Andrew Durante, Phoenix managed to keep Heart at bay, relentlessly haranguing the Melbourne side in attempt to disrupt the red and white-s trademark passing game.

This perseverance almost led to an opener just after the half hour as Ifill obtained the ball on the right flank before playing a cross to Daniel, who headed just wide.

Approaching half time, Heart was presented with its first chance of the contest, with the impressive Adrian Zahra playing a defence splitting through ball to Alex Terra, only for the Brazilian to toe poke high with just the ‘keeper to beat.

The former Fluminense attacker squandered another opportunity 11 minutes into the second half, shooting into Phoenix ‘keeper Mark Paston after he was played through by Sibon, who turned splendidly before threading a ball through the defence.

Sibon was central to Heart next-s opening soon after, as the towering Dutchman attempted to prod a shot over Paston after Skoko played a stellar lofted pass to send him through on goal.

A last ditch touch from the New Zealand international ‘keeper forced the ball wide, but into the path of the incoming Terra, who was unable to convert as the Phoenix regrouped to deny Heart once again.

And in the 64th minute, Heart was made to pay for its wastefulness in front of goal when Ifill bundled home from close range after Vince Lia-s cross was deflected into the Barbados international-s path by Bertos.

Compounding Heart-s woes, the side was reduced to 10 men soon after as Matt Thompson was sent off for a second bookable offence before Ifill sealed the match with his second.

Wellington Phoenix 2 (Ifill 62′, 74′)
Melbourne Heart FC 0
Westpac Stadium, Wellington